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Is mixed-race a colour? The factors involved in the construction of the mixed-race identity

Whittingham, Jacob Simon


Jacob Simon Whittingham


Is Mixed-race A Colour? The Factors Involved in the Construction of the Mixed-race Identity, is a cross-cultural comparative study of the racial identity of Black/White ‘mixed-race’ young people aged between 18–24 in Sydney, Australia and London, United Kingdom. I have been working professionally with mixed-race young people for nine years, and have become increasingly aware of their over-representation in Pupil Referral Units, the care system, and the Youth Criminal Justice system. I wanted to determine how mixed-people develop their identity, and understand the factors that are involved in their choices, thus improving the tools available for those professionals working with mixed-race young people.

This project was completed using ethnography as the primary research tool. Semi-structured interviews and archival research based on the readily available literature on mixed-race people operated as other sources for primary and secondary sources of data. The results found that although mixed-race young people share close affiliation with the Black community, there was the development of a distinctive mixed-race community. This is sharply contrasted in Australia, where the concept of ‘mixed’ is considered offensive, and a relic of colonialism. Whilst the scrutiny that they face about their identity is immense, their ability to successfully manoeuvre and survive within the racial constraints of the socio-political environment that they exist in, is healthier than much of the available literature suggests. Difficulties faced by both mixed-race genders include being stereotyped, targeted and sexualised by White and Black people; being pulled between one’s outwardly expressed identity, and how one sees ones identification; and the complexity with their relationship with the Black community. In the future, it would be valuable to include elements of mixed-race history and issues of identification in the national curriculum, in addition to the inclusion of mixed-race themes into equality, inclusion and diversity training.


Whittingham, J. S. Is mixed-race a colour? The factors involved in the construction of the mixed-race identity. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Keywords mixed-race, race, ethnicity, culture, identity, colour, black, white, inclusion, diversity, Lambeth, Redfern, Australia, UK, London, Sydney, Brixton, United Kingdom, aborigines, aboriginal, indigenous, cross-cultural, quantitative, social group, heritage,
Public URL
Award Date Mar 1, 2014

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